April 15, 2024

Bradley Simmonds reveals exactly how to stop social media influencing your body image

As a young male fitness influencer in a very image-orientated industry, I wanted to share my thoughts in the hope of raising awareness and offering support to anyone feeling negative towards their body.

Negative body image amongst women is a hot topic; but more recently, the rise in negative body image amongst men has rightly been brought to our attention, with Hollywood actors sharing the pressures that they face to look a certain way which is directly impacting viewers.

It’s fair to say that people are pointing the finger towards social media and the influencers making a living there. A recent study showed that most people in the study came off social media feeling bad about their appearance – and it’s little surprise; Instagram is full of edited images with people showcasing their best angles, with the best lighting.

Who is to blame?

For many influencers, it has become their full-time job to post beautiful images in collaboration with brands (something we must always remember when scrolling through our phones – it is not always a reflection of real life). Yes, I like to make my Instagram page aesthetically pleasing but most importantly, it needs to be informative and useful for the user. It is not my main source of income but it has certainly been a key platform for me to showcase my work and my brand values.

Who you choose to follow online can play a detrimental part in how social media makes you feel. For me, it is important to follow accounts that inspire, motivate, make you laugh and make you feel good. As soon as a brand or person makes you feel negative about yourself or stops inspiring you then simply unfollow. We’re constantly evolving and our interests may change, so refreshing who we follow on Instagram is quite a beneficial thing to do for our mental health and personal growth.

Fitness specific social pages

I can only really speak about myself as a social media fitness influencer. Despite many accusing fitness influencers for the rise in negative body image, it is very important for people to remember that when you follow the right credible fitness experts with the right message, you should feel motivated and inspired.

How to spot a credible fitness influencer

  1. Fully qualified and happy to prove this
  2. They have obvious experience training others not just themselves
  3. They do not promote diet products (especially not to benefit themselves financially – think pyramid schemes)
  4. They are associated with other known credible brands and people
  5. They are professional and honest in their approach

Our aim is to promote health and fitness, not perfect bodies. Does living a healthy lifestyle make you more aesthetically pleasing? For lots of people yes, but the main focus is to encourage people to get active and eat well in order to feel happy, healthy, fit and strong.

Those comparing their bodies to fitness influencers must remember it is our business, our brand and our main priority to train. We love what we do but it is also essential for us to find the time to do it. An office worker or stay-at-home mum will not always be able to put aside the same amount of time and effort as we can.

You should take from us the advice we share on our social channels and adapt it best to your lifestyle, setting realistic goals to suit you.

Focus on yourself and adapt your mindset

There are so many people advertising the perfect life and the perfect body regardless of their background or profession on social media. As humans, I think it is only natural to compare ourselves to others but it is also so damaging for our mental health.

What we don’t see being advertised is just as important as what we do see; nobody’s life is perfect and only a handful of people are willing to share the struggles and the difficult times with their followers.

So always remember:

  1. Social media is a small fraction of someone’s life and usually only the good stuff
  2. Qualified fitness influencers online have the expertise and often prioritise the time to get in shape as part of their work
  3. A lot – in fact most – of what you see is edited or manipulated to look as “perfect as possible”
  4. Focusing on you, setting realistic goals, being as healthy as possible is the most important thing. Comparison is a killer.
  5. Don’t be so worried about everyone else’s life you forget to enjoy your own

See you next month! Bradley

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